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115 Norwegian (NCL) Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

We are Platinum Plus (30+ cruises) and consider ourselves "loyalists." Unfortunately, our experience on the Bliss in September pushed us to look elsewhere. We'd also had a not so great experience on the Bliss in April but ... Read More
We are Platinum Plus (30+ cruises) and consider ourselves "loyalists." Unfortunately, our experience on the Bliss in September pushed us to look elsewhere. We'd also had a not so great experience on the Bliss in April but explained it away by the newness of the ship, etc. This time, we couldn't explain away the below average experience. It really makes us sad b/c we've loved NCL for so many reasons. Unfortunately, the changes in NCL (growing too big too fast) are impacting customer service, the cruise experience, and food quality. No longer is there a "family" feel...we felt like just another number (I know we are no matter what but there was not even a pretense to care). On top of that, we brought along our 2 cousins and our travel agent (who'd never sailed NCL) and she brought along 7 others. We had been ranting and raving about NCL to her so she wanted to try it to share her good experiences with her customers. First, we were not allowed to board until 10p. It was chaos (as other reviews have indicated). We ate in the MDR - the most mediocre food (at best) ever. Then the muster drill at 11p. Really? Most everyone was asleep listening to the drill...elderly folk were exhausted, parents were drained, kids were irritable, and everyone else (including myself) were dumbfounded at the sheer stupidity of keeping us at the drill so long (longer than usual). When we get to our room, there is a letter indicating we will not be stopping at Seattle as planned but would stay in Victoria for 2 days. There was no explanation and no one knew anything. Later we'd find out that supposedly Seattle port did not have enough Customs agents to allow us to pass through. We found this incredibly hard to believe. There was never an apology or explanation from the Captain or Hotel Director. In fact, the Senior Officers were nowhere to be found. Gone are the days where Senior Officers socialized a bit during the morning/afternoon in the Atrium. Guest Services was a joke. I loved sailing NCL b/c it felt like EVERYONE knew their jobs so well and I could depend/trust the information I was provided. This was not true of Guest Services - all of whom barely looked up from their computers when speaking to us. Shore Excursions Desk gave us wrong information indicating we should follow immigration process when we stopped in San Francisco ("listen for announcement"). Thank goodness I didn't trust this (mis)information and asked around and found that if you had an excursion, you could get off the ship at the excursion time. Food - the worst MDR experiences we've ever had. The food was tepid with poor presentation (it really seemed that the chefs just threw food on the plates). Orders were continually wrong, waiters didn't know answers to simple questions regarding the food, and service was horrendous. Several times waiters brought us our soup and appetizer at the same time. So we had all of our plates prior to the main meal at one time. I actually muttered "well this is new" and the waiter asked if I'd rather they hold it for me until I was ready. I declined since I knew all that meant was for it to go sit in a cold room and who knew how long it'd be for him to come around again to bring it to me. One of the Officers told me that about 30% of the staff were entirely new employees. It showed. On this trip (and the one in April on the Bliss) there were no smiling faces, "good mornings," or anyone who seemed to care that we were paying guests on a cruise ship. Everything was done with what seemed like a great deal of effort, from the hostess swiping our key cards when we checked in for dinner to handing us menus (vs tossing them to us). No more pulling out chairs for us and forget about a napkin on your lap. Platinum members? Didn't matter...there was nothing special for us. In fact, the Lattitudes party was in the Observation lounge and EVERYONE stopped by to get a drink at the bar, regardless of status. Cruise Critic Meet and Greet was pathetic - some of the Senior Officers were there and they were hurriedly introduced and they quickly ran off to somewhere else after their names were called. I often felt like saying "sorry to bother you." Not what you want when you've spent a nice chunk of change on a cruise. I wasn't sad when it was time to leave and it was hard for me to give a standing ovation at the farewell party. When I got home, I felt like I'd never even been on a vacation. I also started getting on Cruise Critic and looking at reviews of HAL, obtained other members' opinions, and called HAL for information. Did you know that a person at HAL actually answers the phone without waiting on hold for 30+ minutes?! So not only did NCL give my travel agent nothing to encourage her customers to try, her companions saying they'll go back to their usual smaller/more expensive cruises, and my cousins got driven back to Disney, but they also helped me decide to spread my wings and try HAL. Maybe I'll get back some of that feeling of being valued. While I feel a bit disloyal, I really felt the need to speak with my money and go elsewhere at least for now. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
NCL staff and management have no clue how to travel with 4,000 passengers. We are still trying to decide if the ports just are not ready for the mega ships - or if NCL just doesn't care whether they get repeat customers. Nothing ... Read More
NCL staff and management have no clue how to travel with 4,000 passengers. We are still trying to decide if the ports just are not ready for the mega ships - or if NCL just doesn't care whether they get repeat customers. Nothing about this cruise would make guests feel welcome. (1) NCL knew in advance that the docks were full on Sept 30th so embarkation would not begin until after 7pm. They chose NOT to share this info with guests. (2) NCL knew that customs and immigration officials would not work later than 5pm so that the Seattle stop would have to be cancelled. They chose not to share this info with guests. (3) They knew the number of customs officers available in San Francisco - so that passengers would lose 1/2 of their shore time waiting in a three hour line to exit. But they chose not to share this info with guests. This ship added extra decks full of cabins. But the common venues such as garden cafe, showroom, pool area are the same size as on smaller ships. So guests feel like cattle being herded to the slaughter house. They did add a lot of activities that guests can pay extra charges to get some privacy and service. Guest services staff on board would answer guests with "We have no control over this problem or that problem. When you get off the ship, talk to corporate offices in Miami." But corporate sent the same form letter to each passenger who sent a complaint. The form letter could best be summarized as "tell someone who cares". If NCL is your choice - stick with the smaller ships. This cruise was better than the Titanic's maiden voyage - but not by much. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been on many cruises usually 2 or 3 a year and we looked forward to trying out NCL and their newest ship the Bliss. Right from the beginning it was frustrating. The drink packages are way over priced. $99 a Day is crazy compared to ... Read More
We have been on many cruises usually 2 or 3 a year and we looked forward to trying out NCL and their newest ship the Bliss. Right from the beginning it was frustrating. The drink packages are way over priced. $99 a Day is crazy compared to other cruise lines. Most of the Shore Excursions were way over priced. I rented a car for the day and drove all over San Francisco and Victoria. It was far cheaper and a much better value for the money. Then we finally get to the day of departure and I had been speaking to NCL by phone asking to get instructions for getting to handicap and elderly parents aboard. And was told to ask at the pier. We dropped luggage very early in the day and asked at the pier...to no avail. They said it will be set up when we embark later that evening. We stood on line with two elderly handicap parents for 2 1/2 hours to board the ship. It was a disaster. Not only for us but many people with elderly parents or young children. I have been on 20 cruises and this was the worst process I have ever seen. Not a single NCL person around. Only people employed by the pier. I have not experienced a more chaotic departure. We were doing our safety meeting at 11:30pm ... that’s tough on the elderly and young kids. Not to mention anyone. Then many of us were surprised to find out the next morning that NCL decided not to got to Seattle like scheduled ... and just go directly to Victoria. We saw the piece of paper at 11pm the night before but a vast majority of the people had no idea. You would think NCL would make arrangements for the arrival into Victoria and it was a ghost town at the pier for transportation. Again, No NCL people on the pier. 70 people waiting to get a cab into downtown ... not one cab. We started calling all of the cab companies and they had no idea the ship was there. Peoples book shore excursions were a mess. I could not make this up if I tried. The NCL staff on board the ship are very good. The dinning was great. The Beatles shows were amazing... but there were so many organization issues on this cruise. We will stick with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
A beautiful ship with excellent people serving the guests. The overall trip was ruined by in competent senior staff on board, and incompetent senior management at Norwegian Cruise Lines. The trip started out as a disaster from Vancouver. ... Read More
A beautiful ship with excellent people serving the guests. The overall trip was ruined by in competent senior staff on board, and incompetent senior management at Norwegian Cruise Lines. The trip started out as a disaster from Vancouver. The ship was originally scheduled to board at 7PM. The original cruise documents said boarding could begin an hour earlier (6PM). However, this changed the day of departure, and no one was allowed to board until 7PM. You can imagine what it was like when 4,000 passengers all showed up at 7PM to board the ship. There was one line that twisted and turned the full length of the terminal and wound around and doubled back outside the terminal. We stood in line from 7PM until 9:30 when we finally boarded. We paid the extra fare to stay in the Haven, because of the additional perks included. One of those perks was supposed to be expedited boarding. After two hours and 15 minutes in line, a guy finally came down the line with a Haven sign and led us to the Haven check-in line. Never once while in line, nor after we boarded did anyone explain what had gone wrong. No announcement over the loudspeakers apologizing for the disastrous start. Instead, to add insult to injury, they came over the loudspeaker and announced that everyone had to go through the lifeboat drill at 11:00 at night. Even after they covered all of the information on how to put on your life vest in case of an emergency, the Captain didn’t bother to come on the speaker, explain what had caused the horrible delays, and apologize for the disastrous start to the cruise. Next morning we wake up to find out that our scheduled port of call in Seattle had been cancelled. Instead we spent two days tied up at the first port of call in Victoria, B.C. On our next port of call, after a day at sea, was San Francisco. The night before arriving there a note is left on our bed telling us to meet the concierge in the Haven Lounge the next day at 7:45AM to get off of the ship because everyone on board had to get off the ship and go through customs, since this was the first stop at a US port. Furthermore, no one would be allowed to get back on the ship until everyone on board had exited and gone though customs. So, regardless of what you may have wanted to do that day, you had to hang out in the terminal for about two hours before getting back on board. I fully understand that sometimes things don’t go as planned. Glitches occur. However, great companies develop contingency plans to handle unforeseen circumstances. And the very best o take extra seps to see to it their customers either never know a problem existed, or that they far exceed their customers expectations when addressing the problem. From my perspective after this Cruise, Norwegian Cruise Lines hasn’t got a clue about how to deal with uncertainties when they occur. That’s actually scary when you think about being in a boat on the open seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I had high hopes for this cruise since some friends of ours took it just a few months ago. Unfortunately, my husband and I were a bit disappointed. I have cruised many times on different liners and have always been in awe of the friendly ... Read More
I had high hopes for this cruise since some friends of ours took it just a few months ago. Unfortunately, my husband and I were a bit disappointed. I have cruised many times on different liners and have always been in awe of the friendly smiling crew. This cruise was very limited on that. We were not greeted with smiles, some of the bar staff were rude, some of the servers in the restaurants were rude and not many staff members had smiles on their faces and were ready to help if you were "lost". One night our group of 9 wanted to take some pictures since we were all celebrating our 55th birthdays. We got dressed up and went in search of some of the ships photographers. the very first photographer we saw stated that he would take the pictures yet we had to do exactly what he said, when he said it and a few of us would have to "LAY" on the ground. He saw we were all dressed in dresses and suits. We left there immediately and moved on. The photographer at the Atrium stairs was wonderful and help us and also let us do some "fun and cute" pictures. Another photographer we went to would not let us do a "fun" picture. She also kept telling someone in our group to smile and she was waiting to take the picture until she smiled. The woman in our group DOES NOT smile (for personal reasons) and we kept telling her to just take the picture. It was uncomfortable. The bartender and wait staff (Antonio) in the Mojito bar was FABULOUS! The specialty dining was amazing yet the food in some of the other dining areas was dry and not that good. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was such a disappointment Took over 4 hours to board the ship and it was disorganized. By the time we boarded ship it was after 10 pm. Missed out on dinner as there was a mandatory safely meeting at 11pm Completely missed out on ... Read More
This was such a disappointment Took over 4 hours to board the ship and it was disorganized. By the time we boarded ship it was after 10 pm. Missed out on dinner as there was a mandatory safely meeting at 11pm Completely missed out on porting in Seattle. So because we missed out in Seattle spent an extra day in Victoria Was looking forward to San Francisco and we couldn’t get off the ship until after noon even though ship was ported in the early morning. Not what our itinerary had told us Public washrooms we’re discussing. Toilets seemed to not be flushing properly and guesses continued to use them..... Food was undercooked a few times and service was terrible. We had two dining speciality packages and one of those evenings our waiter forgot to submit our food order and it took nearly an hour and 40 minutes to receive our food Terrible experience all around! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We are a platinum latitude member but normally took a NCL cruise on a small ship. My wife and I wanted to try a larger ship. The embarkation was a disaster. It took us more than 4 hours to check in and embark. Personnel at the pier in ... Read More
We are a platinum latitude member but normally took a NCL cruise on a small ship. My wife and I wanted to try a larger ship. The embarkation was a disaster. It took us more than 4 hours to check in and embark. Personnel at the pier in Vancouver were so disorganized and they waited until 7pm to start the process. They could have started earlier and gave us our passenger pass. NCL deleted our stop at Seattle without any prior notice. We found out this deletion when we boarded the ship. NCL however compensated us with $50 each. Entertainment were mostly Broadway musicals without any variety. Some of the entertainment has an entrance fee. The inside room was smaller than the smaller ship. When we reached San Francisco, all passengers must check with the immigration at the terminal building. With more than 4000 passengers to process, NCL provided only 1 checkout counter to check IDs. No wonder the cue was really long. Because of this long line, I started to get sick and passed out while on the line. Per my wife, NO NCL PERSONNEL assisted us while I was laying on the floor. Thank God, one of the passenger called 911. I was taken to the emergency room of California Pacific Medical Center. It took the hospital more than 5 hours to complete the medical tests and diagnosis. I missed the ship and NCL provided us a hotel room and a flight home to Los Angeles the following day. I believe the long line gave me the stress and sickness. I will never a large NCL ship cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cruise was spoiled by problems with embarking, disembarking, cancellation of Port of Seattle, very late night safety drill and lack of half day on ship in Vancouver. Cruise also spent too long in Port of Victoria, where we live. Management ... Read More
Cruise was spoiled by problems with embarking, disembarking, cancellation of Port of Seattle, very late night safety drill and lack of half day on ship in Vancouver. Cruise also spent too long in Port of Victoria, where we live. Management blamed the tides on our loading problems, which was ridiculous because tide conditions are posted months in advance. Our ship came up empty from Seattle and had plenty of time to dock and let passengers on to enjoy the ship before we embarked. Maybe they forgot to reserve a spot on the jetty? Two meals, lunch and supper were missed. Getting on the ship (3 1/2 hours plus) was a nightmare with too long lines, being kept in holding rooms where no refreshments were served. Not enough crew were hired to assist, as they knew they had to process 4000 plus people. Passengers who had sailed with Norwegian before said this had not happened before. Why this time? Why not do the safety drill when we were held in holding rooms? I realize the drill is mandatory, but 10:45 is ridiculous. Why couldn’t people with small children, send one parent and let the kids sleep? We were not shown where the life jackets were, which is foolish in an emergency. Why wait until we were boarding to inform us by letter that Port of Seattle was cancelled. What was the real reason? Many people were meeting loved ones in Seattle or had their day planned. Others chose this cruise because it was the only one going to Seattle. We were lucky to get off the ship quickly in San Franscico, but many were not. Floor 9 didn’t get off until after 1:00 which ruined their days’ plans. When did the lower decks finally get off? We heard the crew didn’t get any shore leave. Customer service lineups seemed to at least twenty people deep whenever we went. We were also charged for 6 days gratuities when we didn’t get our day in Vancouver. Disembarking in Los Angeles was smooth because management hired some Princess cruise staff to assist. Finally. Staff on ship were very good. Loved the observation lounge for reading and light lunches. Jersey Boys were excellent. Food in Cafe was good but maybe a bit bland without spices. Loved the food choices. Great weather. Hop on and off in San Francisco was excellent and visiting Pier 39 for outstanding clam chowder in a sourdough bowl was yummy. Unfortunately, the Management planning was terrible and needs to be vastly improved Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
not enough info given to guests --- we were told while traveling to Victoria that we would stay overnight in Victoria and not going to Seattle was not right. not enough to do in Victoria , could have stayed over night in San Francisco. ... Read More
not enough info given to guests --- we were told while traveling to Victoria that we would stay overnight in Victoria and not going to Seattle was not right. not enough to do in Victoria , could have stayed over night in San Francisco. Trying to get in a restaurant to eat was impossible tables open all over but told you need reservations, but none were avalilable.( We were in the Haven so we ate there alot,and the service and food was great.) Food was good when we able to get in to eat It was the same with the shows if you did not make reservations the day they were available,you didn't get them you could try and wait in standby line but you had to get in line at 6pm for a 7:30 show. We were on a BTOB cruise, over all not real happy with this part of the cruise. we usually like Norwegian and will probably sail with you again but not in near future and not on the Bliss. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Celebrating a special anniversary. Embarkation nightmare. Supposed to board ship at 7P.M. which is a late boarding to begin with. At 11P.M. finally made it without any explanation as to the delay. Ate dinner at midnight. Company not ... Read More
Celebrating a special anniversary. Embarkation nightmare. Supposed to board ship at 7P.M. which is a late boarding to begin with. At 11P.M. finally made it without any explanation as to the delay. Ate dinner at midnight. Company not terribly concerned about inconveniencing passengers. Due to the extraordinary delay Seattle was eliminated from our itinerary. Instead of three stops on our 6 day cruise we ended up with 2 stops and the rest at sea. Aside from the specialty restaurants the service was poor and the food fair at best. I waited two hours for an omelette in one of them.Even the excursions were poorly run.Lines everywhere you went very long.Balcony cabin very small.Trip seemed very disorganized from the get go. I wrote to the executives regarding my concerns almost two weeks ago but haven't gotten a response yet. If your looking for a good cruise I suggest you try a company other than NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Beautiful ship and attentive crew. Comfortable stateroom. Good food, entertainment, amenities, etc. for just about any interest and taste. Theater shows were high-quality plus the go-kart track was a blast. Go figure - Getting back ... Read More
Beautiful ship and attentive crew. Comfortable stateroom. Good food, entertainment, amenities, etc. for just about any interest and taste. Theater shows were high-quality plus the go-kart track was a blast. Go figure - Getting back into pingpong was an unexpected bonus. All of the good stuff had a terrible downside. Poor communication of key information such as boarding/disembarkation was only surpassed by the pain of actually enduring the process used. Instead of a staggered boarding process, there was only an extremely long line that snaked through a very large building, plus around it outside. This took about 3 hours to complete. At one point, the line snaked around a big room only to end up seating people near the door that they entered. An entire port visit was cancelled completely. At San Francisco, every passenger was required to exit with none allowed to return until everyone was off. We felt lucky to take only 2 hours on this, although others took much longer. Since we had no knowledge of what was involved until the night before, we thus missed an onshore appointment. Whereas I suspect that the port authorities have certain requirements, it almost appeared that the cruise line had not actually gone through these activities before. Of course, because the line in fact regularly enters ports of multiple nations, there is no excuse apparent for the long lines, waits and significant (un-communicated) reduction in shore time. We did not take any cruise-line arranged shore excursions, so I cannot comment on them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Having previously sailed on the Bliss in the Caribbean, we looked forward to the Pacific Coastal cruise so much we even convinced a friend of ours to book a cabin on the cruise. Boy were we disappointed. Standing in line winding ... Read More
Having previously sailed on the Bliss in the Caribbean, we looked forward to the Pacific Coastal cruise so much we even convinced a friend of ours to book a cabin on the cruise. Boy were we disappointed. Standing in line winding outdoors and indoors for over 2 1/2 hours to get our room cards and board the ship. There was no place to sit or rest until we were more than 2 hours into the process. No one from NCL seemed to care. When we finally got onboard (after 10 pm) the only place to get some food was the buffet....where nearly 4,000 of our fellow passengers were trying to do the same thing. Then we were told the first port of call, Seattle, was cancelled because there was not enough time to process the passengers through immigration so we would spend an overnight in Victoria BC. Why NCL created an itinerary that requires two separate US immigration stops is beyond me. (Vancouver to Seattle to Victoria BC to San Francisco before ending in Los Angeles). We wondered about that part of the itinerary when we booked the cruise but apparently NCL did not. Victoria BC has no amenities near the cruise terminal and no entertainment area either. To make matters worse, only 3 bars were allowed to be open due to local restrictions so drink service at our specialty restaurant was negatively impacted as the closet bar was 7 floors away. Our tour guide told us it was the first time he could recall a ship staying overnight in the 20 years he had been in the town. On the 3rd day of the 6 day cruise we finally sailed so the shops/bars/casinos could be open. Things were looking up...or so we thought. Unfortunately the next cruise port (San Francisco) was another frustrating experience as we technically arrived at 8 am but we were not able to get off the ship until after noon (with another 45 minutes of standing in line after our floor was called to disembark. So much for a full day in San Francisco. The Bliss is a beautiful ship but it is NOT capable of handling the number of passengers it carries when those passengers are indoors. The employees did not seem to give much effort to making our trip enjoyable. Maybe the attitude of frustrated passengers caused them to become defensive. We have already talked three other couples who inquired about our trip to stay away from NCL Bliss for this itinerary. When I wrote to NCL customer service to express my frustrations with their efforts, they brushed me off and did not offer what I really wanted most...acknowledgement that they did not provide the level of service their customers deserved. It may very well be my last NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo ... Read More
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo lounge is a great place to escape from noisy children and obnoxious people. The coffee in the solo lounge is the best on the ship. There are plenty of places to dine with The Local being one of my favourites, but Taste and Savour are also excellent The adult area on the aft deck has two hot tubs and a bar and is a wonderful place to enjoy the scenery. It was the perfect place to view the Golden Gate Bridge sailing out of San Francisco. The crew are attentive and the food was always good. Certainly heard no complaints. The port in Victoria was excellent although a long walk from the city, however again no complaints. The weather was perfect and there was plenty to see and the path to the city was well marked. Embarkation in Los Angeles was a breeze and went much better than I expected. Disembarkation in Vancouver was also quick and painless. I would recommend this ship, especially to solo travellers. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a repositioning cruise from LA to Vancouver with our 2 grandkids 3 & 7. First off, under three year olds have a room to play in with some toys but no supervision until they hit 3 years old. Kids did like the program for the ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise from LA to Vancouver with our 2 grandkids 3 & 7. First off, under three year olds have a room to play in with some toys but no supervision until they hit 3 years old. Kids did like the program for the few times they went, it was closed at lunch and dinner and cost money after 10:30pm. Arcade pass was $175 for a week, we found that expensive and they do not honor the day pass as advertised on their website. Go karts we thought were going to be the highlight, it was unsafe for my seven year old after doing a double ride to test. We cancelled future single rides, however they did end up on our final bill which resulted in a trip to guest services on debarkation day (it did show refunded on our account in our cabin on tv). The family pool was deep but warm and in cooler weather not crowded. The big blue slide was so much fun! We didnt find any entertainment that would capture childrens attention but did enjoy Jersey Boys for ourselves. We have never minded ship buffets but this was very challenging with small children as tables were scarce or non existant and we were offered a suggestion of carrying our food down one floor...well not a possibility with small kids. Food was fine, we really loved the Q for specialty dining. Some weirdness were noted with the drinks, I had the drink package included so just paid the grats on it. However when ship is in port ( in our Pacific Coastal this was 75% of our cruise) we are charged an additional port tax ranging from $1.06 to $3.97 ...I couldn't figure out the varying amounts on the same priced drink?! I asked about this when booking when reading a review and the NCL rep told me there was no such charge!! ( insert confused emojii). Hubby is a smoker and has now after several wonderful years of cruising...he vowed he would never return. There is 1 area at the back of the ship dedicated for smoking (casino when opened and your if your gambling) and it closed for: refueling ( hours), special events and random closures. There was some grumpy passengers right from getting on the ship and I don't usually have sympathy...but they are people too! Every drink was yummy but the best was found in the mojito bar. Enjoy your cruise friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 7th cruise overall and our 3rd with Norwegian. Overall not very blissful....I would rate it was average at best. What surprised me the most is that none of the staff went out of their way to provide exceptional customer ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise overall and our 3rd with Norwegian. Overall not very blissful....I would rate it was average at best. What surprised me the most is that none of the staff went out of their way to provide exceptional customer service. Perhaps with this being their newest ship, they have yet to work all of the kinks out. At the end of the cruise you are Aurora given “ cruise hero” comment cards and I was unable to think of one single employee to nominate.The main dining rooms are entirely way too small for the ship. We had a specialty Dining package so we had 4 meals that were specialty restaurants. Unfortunately, the specialty restaurants fell short on this ship as well. That being said, I would NOT recommended strictly going with the “include restaurants” unless you like to order the same menu items. The Taste and Flavor had the same menus the entire cruise and look to seat abut 50ppl. We did eat at Taste once and only once. After I found a huge black hair (I’m a blonde) in my food, we never went back. The cabins are a huge miss on this ship as well. My husband is 5’11” and of average build...his suits were too wide to fit in the already awkward closet. Go Carts were a waste. We were on the track with 3 kids that couldn’t move their cars and the attendants wouldn’t pull them off of the course or apologize. Only to say...“go to guest services”!! That seemed too be the answer for everyone until you wait in line for an hour. Our past 2 cruises have bee with Norwegian but we will most likely be finding a different company that values service and repeat customers. I was not impressed with the Bliss!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first trip on NCL in fifteen years, and after over 25 cruises with Celebrity and Princess we wanted a change and to see a brand new large ship. We were quite satisfied with most of the experiences we had on the ship, ... Read More
This was our first trip on NCL in fifteen years, and after over 25 cruises with Celebrity and Princess we wanted a change and to see a brand new large ship. We were quite satisfied with most of the experiences we had on the ship, weather is not their fault and it was cold and windy limiting outdoor experiences, but in all we were satisfied and will consider traveling with them again. Food quality was comparable if not better than other companies we have sailed with, and the specialty restaurants were excellent. Buffet was below standards of previous lines, with limited selections that we liked. Practically no seafood items for lunch. Entertainment on Jersey Boys well done, and band was fantastic. Cavern shows and comedy club really enjoyable. Negatives were: 1. Embarquation was disorganized, twenty minute line because some agents appeared to be there for the social experience. Actually overheard one talking to guest for nearly five minutes about the fact she used to live in their hometown and seeing if they knew her relatives!!! 2. Whoever thought that closets six inches from bed was a good idea should spend a week in that cabin. Had to get out of bed every time my spouse needed to go into the closet. Are shelves that much cheaper than drawers? No drawers for storage. 3, Never met the room steward during entire trip. 4, Although this was not a carribean cruise cannot imagine how 4000 guests can possibly use the pool area, probably less than 400 chairs for the single pool deck. Disembarquation was excellent. extremely organized and announcements were clear. Final comment, as others have mentioned NCL will try to nickel and dime every penny that they can get. Alcohol drinks were really light on booze. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just wanted a getaway for a few days But this one became a memorable one Can't wait to go back. The embarkation in Los Angeles is smooth and quick. We cleared in no time and head straight to the main dining room. The ship ... Read More
We just wanted a getaway for a few days But this one became a memorable one Can't wait to go back. The embarkation in Los Angeles is smooth and quick. We cleared in no time and head straight to the main dining room. The ship itself is really amazing But most importantly, the crew who truly made this trip one for the books. Not only they are courteous and friendly, but they to beyond to make you special. The entertainment is Broadway-class, amenities of the ship is top notch. The food, unforgettable with so much variety. Worth it, every penny spent. Had the chance to meet the Captain and the senior officers when we got invited to the Captain's cocktail party It was an eye opener and a humbling experience, plus you get free booze and canapes. Disembarkation in Vancouver BC is also hassle-free. We hope the future cruises will be like this, if not better. As mentioned earlier, we can't wait to get back to sea. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It was kind of stressful being on this cruise from LA to Vancouver, right from the start till the end. Embarkation: It started with embarkation, long lines, no directions for people arriving by public transport and worst for ... Read More
It was kind of stressful being on this cruise from LA to Vancouver, right from the start till the end. Embarkation: It started with embarkation, long lines, no directions for people arriving by public transport and worst for Platinum NCL customers: no skip the lines possible. Food/restaurants: The speciality restaurants were the only places where we could find a quiet atmosphere to enjoy our meals. The complimentary dining rooms, as well as the buffet, were always crowded and often offered mediocre food. Items like the evening Nutella crepes that used to be complimentary on cruises I did with NCL before are now sold for 5 bucks plus gratitudes. Pools: It's kind of odd, that there is no indoor pool for non-suite guests on this ship, that was particular build for Alaska. On most days of this cruise, it was too cold to use the pool area. Guest services: When visiting the cruise next team I had an unpleasant encounter with one of their team members. She was very pressing to sell at least two or more cruise rewards. After telling her three times I don't want to change my purchase, she was still in her pushing mode, so I had to leave this unpleasant person. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We enjoyed taking our 10 year old granddaughter on this cruise. It was a no-brainer as she lives in San Pedro and we live in Seattle. Fun to cruise the coast and end in Vancouver followed by a train ride home to Seattle. My wife and I ... Read More
We enjoyed taking our 10 year old granddaughter on this cruise. It was a no-brainer as she lives in San Pedro and we live in Seattle. Fun to cruise the coast and end in Vancouver followed by a train ride home to Seattle. My wife and I enjoyed sharing with her the cruise vacation lifestyle we love. She enjoyed the freedom of the Splash Academy but also hanging out with Grammy and Papi. She made friends, learned new things, loved the buffet, doing activities like watching the towel folding demonstration and more. We are already planning our next cruise with her for her 13th birthday in 2021. This way she can got to Entourage. My wife thought Jersey Boys was the best show we have ever seen on a cruise. We also made note that this also may be the best food we have ever had on a cruise. The only downside is due to Canadian and Washington State laws, the stores were closed the last three days and many of the bars as the ship was only allowed 8 bars open at any time. Finally, we had a great time doing laser tag as a family. We were on a team with another family and it was super fun. Note...be prepared to walk the stairs or wait for elevators. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our first time on a very large ship, previous cruises have always been on ships with less that 2000. While there were 4000 on this ship it seemed less crowded most times than a medium size vessel. We found some of the staff less than ... Read More
Our first time on a very large ship, previous cruises have always been on ships with less that 2000. While there were 4000 on this ship it seemed less crowded most times than a medium size vessel. We found some of the staff less than enthusiastic to provide more than the basic help, that tended to be more the exception than the rule and was really only in a couple of the bars. The room attendants were exceptional as were the staff in the Garden Cafe which is the buffet area. Speaking of the buffet, we found the food to be creative and well seasoned with more than ample serving stations and areas to get a seat. We did 2 nights of specialty dining. The French Bistro was a nice break because the room is quiet and the service was very good. One dish we had, the veal was excellent and the other one, sole was over cooked. 2 of the appetizers were less than good.Presentation was as one would expect in a French Bistro. The star attraction here was the desserts. We were on a dining package which allowed us to have 2 appies, 1 main and 1 dessert each. The other meal we chose to go to the Teppanyaki house. A form of group dining that we have not done for about 20 years. The food was ample and cooked perfectly, the chef at the grill very entertaining and the side service excellent. Note that this is fun and entertaining but not a place to go if your looking for a quiet meal. Tons of entertainment all over the ship and the bands tend to rotate from venue to venue during the cruise so most you get to see more than once so dont worry if you miss the first event they are at. We took the repositional cruise from San Pedro CA up to Vancouver Canada with stops in San Francisco and Victoria. Getting on and off the ship at ports of call was a breeze and ample time was given at ports to really get out and investigate the surrounding countryside. We did not partake in any of the ship offered excursions as we are very familiar with the places we were going and able to get around on public transit, walking or Uber. Victoria has a shuttle that runs you into downtown or you can walk the 20 minutes. In San Fran you are essentially within walking distance of plenty to do but would highly recommend taking the Hop On Hop off tours that pick you up right in front of the port parking lot. Back on the ship our room was a mini suite and smaller than we are used to. In general it would seem the rooms are smaller than most ships I have been on but still adequate. As a reasonable new ship everything was in good working order with plenty of water pressure and endless hot water. HVAC systems worked exceptionally well in the room and in all parts of the ship. For comfort, in many of the covered outdoor area's on the ship there are overhead heaters. At this time of year on the west coast it made it enjoyable to sit outside and eat or drink in many area's. That would not have been so without at. Very important as they have a deck with bars and patio extensions from several of the restaurants called the Waterfront. Other cool features on this ship are a 2 level go cart track powered by electric cars, A free fall water slide over the side of the ship, mini golf, Tube water slide and hot tubs that tend to hang over the side of the ship so you have a wonderful unobstructed view if you are in one when coming into a port or whale watching. Too many bars to list here (about 22 of them I think) and so many food options, plenty are complimentary and plenty are al a carte or have surcharges. From an authentic BBQ joint, to Sushi to a Jimmy Buffet Margarittavile burger joint there is something for everyone on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some ... Read More
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some cities we've never been before, namely Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia. In the past, we cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. These were standard size ships (2,500 to 3,000 passengers). The Bliss is a new (almost 1 year old) "Mega" vessel with a capacity of over 6,000 passengers (although the ship lists it at 4,000 passengers). And despite its immense size, no matter where you go, you were always jammed in with a huge crowd of people. On this ship, be prepared to do a lot of walking. From the back end of the ship to the front (or other way around). Or going up or down stairs from one deck to the next. The elevators on the ship were always jammed with passengers all day and night long. My wife found it very difficult to get around, having had knee replacement surgery recently. • I'll list all the "pros" of my experience first: • Entertainment: "Jersey Boys" was the best show on the ship. Standing ovation. Get your seat a 1/2 hour before the show starts, because it fills up fast. "Havana" was a good latin song and dance review. Elaborate costumes and stage decor. The stand-up comedians were terrific, hosted by Tim and featuring Jay Black and Larry Omaha. Book your seats on your first day on the cruise at the theater asap. I did not go to the Cavern Club shows. Way too late for us. However, "Siglo", their resident rock band that played at functions around the ship (the atrium and the pool) throughout the day were awesome. Be sure to go to the functions at the atrium, there's a lot games and shows with lots of audience participation. If you can find an empty seat, grab it fast. • Food: The best specialty restaurant for us was Cagney's steakhouse by far. Great Prime Rib (16 oz). La Cucina was good, not great. But "Q" was very disappointing and hardly anyone besides us were in the restaurant. I guess they got the word of mouth on it. The main dining rooms are good, The Manhattan room is the best of the mains, be sure to book a dinner reservation (even in the main dining rooms) or else you will wait in a long line before you are seated. Beware the breakfast and lunch service in the main dining rooms are slow, but sometimes a better alternative than the buffet. The Garden Cafe (the buffet, on deck 16) is a mad house. It's the largest buffet restaurant we have ever experienced anywhere and you can have ANY kind of food that you can imagine (asian, italian, mexican, deli, salads, on and on). But you have to scramble to find an empty table and you have to dodge and weave around the other passengers getting their food. Overall, the food at the buffet is standard in quality. Our cabin: see my separate review • The observation lounge: what could be bad about lying on a long lounge chair with a pillow behind your head and overlooking the ocean along with a drink and a snack, This is the observation lounge, a quiet area one deck below the buffet. • The Cons: • The elevators were always jam packed! I would have taken the stairs if my wife wasn't with me. • Excursions: because of scheduling problems, our time at the cities were very limited to a short quick afternoon. Plus, because of the number of passengers, we were very slow in disembarking the ship. Very frustrating. Overall, the cruise had some great aspects with a few not so great aspects. If you come in with a positive attitude and are not annoyed by the bad aspects, you'll have a great time. If you read this review you will know what to expect and figure out how to avoid the bad and indulge in the good. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Having been on the Bliss for the transatlantic I was looking for a chance to sail her again before getting on the next new ship when I saw that the Pacific Coastal would fit in nicely to my plans. While I have been to the ports before on ... Read More
Having been on the Bliss for the transatlantic I was looking for a chance to sail her again before getting on the next new ship when I saw that the Pacific Coastal would fit in nicely to my plans. While I have been to the ports before on my first coastal cruise on the Jewel, there was still much to do and I liked the fact that there was an overnight in Vancouver. Embarkation at the Wold Cruise Center in San Pedro was easy with dropping the luggage off at the front with the porters, getting through security and then checking in at the counter for my key card. I had arrived at about 11:15am and was on the ship getting my reservations for Prohibition and dining by 11:30 with my first drink in hand by noon. Note that entertainment reservations (shows, go carts, laser tag) and Vibe were being taken in The Social on deck 6 while the restaurant reservations were right across the hall in Teppanyaki. One of our members in the CC Roll Call had set up a solo travelers lunch in Taste so we all met out there by 12:30 and our group of eight were seated by 1:00pm. Service and lunch were excellent and the rooms were ready close to 2:00pm. My mini-suite was ready when I went up there and my cabin steward introduced himself and made sure I had everything I needed. He was an excellent steward (and I wish I could remember his name but I didn't write it down except on the Vacation Hero Card) and while I didn't have a towel animal every night (and wasn't expecting them nor did I request them) the ones I had were the best. I did wind up upgrading to the Premium Plus Drink Package which gave a limit of $35/drink, bottled water, a bottle of wine with dinner from a set selection of wine, and Starbucks coffee. Since my TA had booked me under a group which covered both my daily service charge and my gratuities for the standard free drink package (now called the Premium Drink Package) I would say that I was happy with my upgrade choice but would not find it worth it if I had already paid the gratuities for the PDP and then upgraded at the additional cost. You tell a lot of people had not upgraded since many times I asked for something outside the basic plan I was told it would cost extra and I would then say "not for me" and show them the upgrade on my card. The buffet bartender at lunch knew me by the second time and would grab my small bottle of San Pellegrino when he saw me walking that way. By the way, that was the only bar I found who had the smaller bottles of water the other ones had the large ones. Still included in the upgraded PPP but not easy to carry around. While I never had an issue another person from our group who upgraded did have an issue with getting a more expensive glass of wine in the Cellars. I ate the first night at Le Bistro and got my Platinum bottle of wine unopened and got a bottle of Veuve Clicquot under the PPP as another free bottle. They kept it for me and I was able to use it at the MDR as well. I also dined in Food Republic, Los Lobos, Q, and at the included Local and Taste restaurants. Everything, except for the mac and cheese at Q, was delicious and the service was always spot on. The bars were also great with my two favorites, Bong & Clarence (aka the chocolate cowboy), being assigned to the Sugar Cane bar. The only issue I had with the bars was that once we got to Victoria and while in Vancouver the Canadian liqueur laws only allowed on bar per deck to be open. That meant that in the evening the bars that were open were pretty crowed but they tried to help with that by having more bartenders at each bar. While I normally avoid Fourbucks, since I had the PPP and didn't have access to the Studio Lounge this time I did get my morning coffee from there. They had what a regular land Charbucks has and were actually not that busy first thing in the morning. The only thing about them was that the charge appeared on the receipt and you had to sign it just like normal but the actual charge for the drink never hit my account. The only other thing to address was that while in all ports for this trip, there was tax collected for the drinks. It wasn't much, well except when I got that glass of wine at $20, but it did surprise some people. All in all this was a great cruise and I will probably do the same sailing again, next time on the Joy most likely. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Since we are more mature and seasoned cruisers (over 50+), we probably have different expectations and reasons for cruising. We have sailed NCL several times, but this was the second, and probably last, on their mega-ships. The first was ... Read More
Since we are more mature and seasoned cruisers (over 50+), we probably have different expectations and reasons for cruising. We have sailed NCL several times, but this was the second, and probably last, on their mega-ships. The first was on the Breakaway out of New York. This was a repositioning Coastal Cruise; LA to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco and Victoria. We took it for a quick and close getaway and the two stops are favorites of ours. We flew to Los Angeles from Phoenix the same day and reserved a Supershuttle to take us to the pier. Easy, peasy, and cheaper than taxis or transfers. There were no other stops, since all passengers were going to the port. The Bliss is a beautiful ship with a sophisticated vibe. There are certainly plenty of places to go and things to do, with go-karts and laser tag as NCL’s latest entertainment venture. We tried the go-Karts - $9.95 for a double (two person) kart – 4 laps. Singles are the same price, but you get 8 laps. Caution: the seats are VERY tight and anyone with flexibility issues may want to reconsider. They were lots of fun and certainly a first on a cruise ship. There are lots of bars, restaurants and specialty shops (Ice Cream, Starbucks, etc.). The Bliss has a rather large selection of Specialty Restaurants as well, all with an up charge. So let’s talk about food. The food in any of the three main dining rooms was good, but not exceptional. Free style dining works for many, but we like having the same waiter and fellow diners, especially for dinner. There was rarely a feeling of care that we have received on other cruise lines. The buffet is huge, but the selections were not memorable. Trying to find a table during peak times is a challenge. We tried three specialty restaurants; Le Bistro, which is a favorite, La Cucina, the Italian Restaurant and Q, the bar-be-que place. Le Bistro never disappoints; the food was excellent, servers friendly and efficient and the décor soft and sophisticated. The only strange thing was the location; on Deck 16 close to the go-kart entrance. Access was through an outside deck near the elevators and on a chilling evening, could make you walk faster. La Cucina was very nice, the food was very good and they accommodated us when we arrived a bit early. Q is more casual and pricing a la carte. They have a country band playing there, so the atmosphere is appropriate; also very good food and friendly servers. The Atrium is an area on deck 5 where most of the passenger activities take place; trivia, game shows, cooking demonstrations, etc. This was a major disappointment. The area is ringed by a bar, customer service desk, future cruise desk and Internet café, so there is lots of traffic, with most of it not engaged with what’s happening on stage. The area is open above and the Local (Pub style restaurant) has a bar where passengers can eat lunch and view (and comment on) what’s happening below. Children would run around the stage – chaos ensued. Noise level was through the roof. We had a balcony cabin(13300) located on deck thirteen. It was a good nice location, aft and close enough to a bank of elevators, but far enough away to avoid noise. Beds were comfortable; two different types of pillows and wonderful top quilts. Storage was somewhat different. Nightstands were about 9 inches wide with one shelf (no drawers). There were two storage cabinets adjacent to the desk, again no drawers. The closet was RIGHT NEXT to the couch, so accessing hanging clothes was a challenge. The bathroom was roomy and had glass shower doors and enough shelf space for everything we had. There were more shelves in the closet, as well as the safe. Workable, but not my favorite configuration. As far as entertainment on board, there were lots to choose from. Jersey Boys was excellent, Havana was good, but about average for a production show, but the music and costumes were very good. My advice is to book pre-cruise for these shows. They are complimentary, but if you want to see the earlier shows, book in advance. There seemed to be enough duos and bands, but they played in restaurants and/or small bars, so dancing was difficult. The guest entertainers were diverse and a hit or miss, depending on your personal expectations. In general, while the ship is beautiful, it seemed more like a hotel/resort than a cruise ship. There is a center aisle along most decks and very few windows, so you might not know you were at sea. Good for some, not for others. This is a ship more for families and young adults. Prepare to pay for many things above and beyond your fare. Also be aware with so many passengers (Over 4500) the noise level and traffic will be above average. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This is a nice ship with lots of things to do if you want to pay extra for them. NCLs free at sea program is anything but. It cost more to book with free at sea than with a sail away rate, you are charged tips on the drinks you could ... Read More
This is a nice ship with lots of things to do if you want to pay extra for them. NCLs free at sea program is anything but. It cost more to book with free at sea than with a sail away rate, you are charged tips on the drinks you could have not the drinks you do have. Most of the fun extras on the ship like the race track and laser tag cost extra. There were 1/2 empty drink glasses and beer bottles sitting aroun all the time, probably because drink were free if you choose that package. Bartenders were kept very busy. They repeated the main stage shows for 2 nights which left limited options on the other nights for something to do. Waste baskets are built in to the walls by the elevators but are not labeled and basicly hidden. I loved that the smoking area in the casino was glassed off. Lunch menu was the same every day. Because of the free at sea program we never ate dinner in the main dining rooms. Specialty dining was ok, but not excellant. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and ... Read More
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and entertainment options. The ship and, for the most part, the crew did not disappoint. This review is primarily centered on the itinerary itself, as there were many drawbacks that were not disclosed by NCL at the time we reserved our cabin. For us, the coastal or "repositioning" cruise is a great way to just enjoy the ship and not worry about needing to reserve a bunch of shore excursions. With the Bliss being so new, we felt we could just enjoy the ship for this quick, 6-day cruise. The issues that we encountered deal primarily with both Canadian and US regulations and are not the result of any policies adopted by NCL. However, I think all potential cruisers for this itinerary should be aware of its limitations. First off, be aware that the ship will leave Vancouver in the middle of the night - there is no traditional sail-away party. My wife and I have found this is a great way to set the tone for the cruise - music, dancing, and tropical beverages. Secondly, and I'm not going to be able to quote the exact regulation, but when a ship is in a Canadian port, there is a limit to the number of bars that can be open on the ship (I believe that the regulation is one bar per deck). For anyone who has sailed on a mega ship, you understand that there are multiple bars and lounges on various decks. I realize that this may not be a big deal for many people, but when you reserve a cruise on a ship like the Bliss, you do not expect there to be limitations on where and what you can drink. Beverages that would be available in the District Brew House or the Mojito Bar are not available for two days. In some restaurants (Food Republic and Margaritaville in our instance), the wait staff had to go fill our beverage order at another location, slowing down the service and limiting the choices. Secondly, US Immigration. We were not aware that we would lose half a day in San Francisco because all of the passengers and crew needed to exit the ship in San Francisco to pass through US Immigration. The process started at approximately 9 AM, and we were allowed back on the ship at approximately 1:30 or 2:00 PM. However, once we re-boarded at 2 PM, most venues and services were shut down as the crew was still going through immigration. Services and venues began to open up around 4 PM. Again, this may not matter to most people, especially if you wanted to spend the day in San Francisco and/or go on an excursion, but if you planned to stay and enjoy the ship, it makes a big difference. Lastly, we did observe some reluctance of the crew to enforce rules. Examples include children being in bar areas of certain lounges (and including H2O Spice, and including children actually sitting at the Mondavi wine bar) and tours that included children and babies in strollers going through the Thermal Suite (not on embarkation day, which is normal, but on day 4). Anyway, I would go on the Bliss again but would not choose this itinerary - just too many drawbacks and not enough of an opportunity to just relax and enjoy the ship. I'm sure many people had better or different experiences, but thought I'd share mine as someone who has been on a number of NCL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
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